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What is phpBB? *)

phpBB is a high powered, fully scalable, and highly customisable open-source bulletin board package. phpBB has a user-friendly interface, simple and straightforward administration panel, and helpful FAQ. Based on the powerful PHP server language and your choice of MySQL, MS-SQL, PostgreSQL or Access/ODBC database servers, phpBB is the ideal free community solution for all web sites.

*) intro stolen from official site, click logo at the right to go there


  • a harddisk based FREESCO box, this can be version 0.2.7 or 0.3.x
  • mySQL 3.23 or better (type mysql --version at the [Linux] prompt )
  • GNU tar with gzip support (-z option)
  • a web server with PHP support (i.e Apache with PHP 4.2.x or thttpd+)
  • aprox. 3Mb free disk space in your /www root (more if you are planning to install additional themes, languages, avatars, etc.)
  • a human (preferable) system admin
  • some time
powered by PHP
Powered by phpBB2
Powered by mySQL

Step 1: download & unpack phpBB2 tarball on your FREESCO box

Login as root using telnet, ssh or direct console access.
The URL you see below to download the phpBB-2.0.3.tar.gz tarball is copied/pasted from the download page you'll get when you go to the download section of phpBB2 at Make sure to click on the gzip version.. I've used the belnet URL because that's closest to my location.

phpBB2 download

[Linux] cd /www
[Linux] snarf -n (476K)
phpBB-2.0.3.tar.gz [########################] 476K | 327.16K/s
487604 bytes transferred in 1.46 sec (326.85k/sec)
[Linux] tar -zxvf phpBB-2.0.3.tar.gz

[Linux] chown -R nobody.nobody phpBB2

Step 2: create the mySQL database

[Linux] mysql -e "CREATE DATABASE phpBB2;"
[Linux] mysql -e "GRANT ALL ON phpBB2.* TO phpBB2@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'forum' WITH GRANT OPTION;"
[Linux] mysql -e "FLUSH PRIVILEGES;"

The password shown here is just an example. I recommend you pick another, but make sure to remember it, because you'll need it in the next step. The database name phpBB2, and username (also phpBB2) are also free to change, but make sure you use the same names in the next step. Do not change the hostname localhost.

Step 3: Open the install page

Point your favorite browser to http://your.freesco.ip/phpBB2/install.php

Where your.freesco.ip is the IP address of the FREESCO box in your LAN. You should get the next screen (or similar):

install step 1

In this form enter the following data (click the thumbnail for a screenshot of my settings)

Item Default Value Comment
Default board language English English pick your prefered language
Database type mySQL 3.x mySQL 3.x do NOT change
Installation method Install Install do NOT change
Database server   localhost  
Database name   phpBB2 same name as used in mysql CREATE statement in step 2.
Database username   phpBB2 same username as in mysql GRANT statement above
Database password   forum same password as in mysql GRANT statement above
Table prefix phpbb_ phpbb_ Use the default, but it really doesn't matter
Admin email     enter a valid mail adres
Domain name     enter your domain name
Server port 80 80 Use default unless your web server is running on a different port.
Script path /phpBB2/ /phpBB2/ do NOT change
Admin username     pick one
Admin password     pick one (and remember!)
Admin password [confirm]     repeat password

When you're satisfied with your entries (double check) then and only then click on the button.

This step should populate your mySQL database with the required tables for phpBB2.


Step 4: Final installation step

If all went well you should get the next page in your browser (click thumbnail for a bigger picture):

Click the button

This is the admin page where you can configure your forum. These steps are beyond the scope of this howto and are very well documented on the phpBB site.


Step 5: Cleanup

The 'install.php' script is no longer needed and actually can be dangerous to leave onsite, so remove it or store it in a safe place outside your /www web root. To save diskspace you can also remove the phpBB2 tarball. Finally repeat the chown command to make sure all files are owned by the same user running the webserver.

[Linux] cd /www/phpBB2
[Linux] rm install.php
[Linux] cd ..
[Linux] rm phpBB-2.0.3.tar.gz
[Linux] chown -R nobody.nobody phpBB2

Step 6: First look at your phpBB forum

Congratulations, you've done it!

Of course now the real works starts, namely configuring your forum, downloading additional themes, plugins, languages, avatars, etc.

Have Fun !!!

Usefull Links

Written for FREESCO by dingetje home
Last edit: Nov 29, 2002